Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

The second branch of the Underground was the c Home Political
Representation * composed of representatives from four political parties,
Socialists, Peasants, National Democrats and Christian Labour. Since
in those early days, it would have proved more than difficult to estimate
the strength and scope of any particular political underground organisation
and give it a corresponding place in the * Home Political Representation/
the numerically superior parties agreed between themselves to maintain
the c unity of power/ Later the c Home Political Representation ' was
enlarged to form ac Council of National Unity' with representatives from
all the various political groups. In theory its powers were approximately
those of a Parliament.
The third branch of the Underground was the organisation known as
thec Directorate of Civil Resistance.' It came into existence only in 1941.
Its powers were reminiscent of the powers and scope of the People's
Tribunals evolved by society in times of turbulence. The ( Directorate 3
kept watch over the national morale, sustained its spirit of resistance
and struggle and was simultaneously responsible to the nation for the
maintenance of that * esprit de corps,' known in Poland as * the rigid
attitude to the invaders,' and which in Great Britain was conveyed in the
phrase * no Quislings!' During the period when the German armies
were having their greatest successes on all fronts, the German terror was
especially bloody and ruthless; at that time absolutely confident of victory,
the Germans were at their most arrogant and ruthless in their treatment
of the Poles. During this phase one need was to become evident, namely,
that punishment should be meted out to those among the German
executioners who excelled in brutality, a punishment meted out not as a
form of reaction or as an act of despair, but as the legal and legitimate act
of justice of an oppressed but not subdued nation. This was the
beginning of the death sentences imposed on the Germans, judgments
which were later to develop on a wide scale. The creation of tie 'Direc-
torate of Civil Resistance * led to hundreds of especially brutal Gestapo,
county heads, German gendarmes, soldiers, officers, and S.S. men being
sentenced to death and executed.
A further justification for this action arose from the necessity of taking
every step to maintain the morale of the Polish people themselves, and
especially of those Poles, or, more frequently, the Volksdeutsche, who,
under the conditions of German terror, were not strong enough to resist
the temptation to succumb and to be disloyal to their fellow Poles. The
* Directorate of Civil Resistance * administered two kinds of sentences,
that of ostracism and that of death. The high qualifications of the members
- of the tribunals ensured that the sentences were just and amply motivated.
Every accused had an official defender, even though he himself be not
present in the court, who pleaded all the existing extenuating circum-
stances. The majority of tie sentences passed on Germans or Volks-
deutsche were published before being carried out. A few of them were
68